SPORTS

IRB player of the year dropped from Canadian sevens team for Brazil trip

01/29/2015 05:17 EST | Updated 03/31/2015 05:59 EDT
TORONTO - Magali Harvey, named the IRB's Women’s Player of the Year last August, has been dropped from Canada's team for the second stop on the Women’s Sevens Series.

Her omission is due to tough competition for places on the squad. Harvey has struggled at times in the sevens game, where mistakes stand out given the short duration of matches and wide-open space.

The 24-year-old from Quebec City started just one of six games in December in Dubai, the first stop on the circuit, although she did see action coming off the bench.

Harvey starred at the World Cup last summer when Canada finished runner-up to England in the showcase tournament for the 15-player version of the game.

Canada finished third in Dubai behind New Zealand and runner-up Australia.

Sao Paulo is next with Canada drawn in a pool with England, Russia and South Africa in the Feb. 7-8 competition.

The top four teams at the end of the six-event season will automatically qualify for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil.

Coach John Tait has added youth to his squad in the form of 18-year-old Charity Williams and Hannah Darling and 20-year-old Nadia Popov.

Darling is the only one of the three to have played in the World Series before. She made her debut last year in Guangzhou.

Tait said the team selection was made based on performance at a recent training camp in San Diego and team scrimmages.

"We believe the gap between the bottom-half of our roster and training group has shrunk significantly," Tait said in a statement. "It has become a headache for selection, but more importantly it gives us solid depth moving towards Rio and will keep complacency out of our group."

While the Canadian women head to Brazil, the men are bound for tournaments in Wellington, New Zealand, and Las Vegas — the fourth and fifth stops of the HSBC World Series.

Canada currently stands 12th in the standings after placing 13th, 13th and ninth at the three previous stops.

The men can take comfort from their performance last time out in South Africa where they went 3-0 on the second day to win the Bowl competition.

Coach Liam Middleton has added Pat Kay, Jordan Wilson-Ross and Liam Underwood to his quad with Justin Douglas, Phil Mack (both injured) and Jack Smith out.

Underwood had been sidelined with concussion-related issues.

"He's a really unusual player who has got some aspects of his game that are almost uncoachable," Middleton said in a statement. "He's a natural player who has got good pace and having been out of action for a period of time, he's shown up very well in fitness tests so I'm really excited to get him out there and playing for us."

Sean Duke is available for the Feb. 6-7 stop in New Zealand but will miss the Feb. 13-15 Las Vegas event due to medical school interviews.

Middleton is still without the injured Nathan Hirayama, Mike Scholz, Ciaran Hearn and Nanyak Dala.

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Canada Roster for Sao Paulo Sevens

Hannah Darling, Peterborough Pagans, Warsaw, Ont.; Bianca Farella, Town of Mount Royal RFC, Montreal; Julia Greenshields, Sarnia Saints, Sarnia, Ont.; Jennifer Kish, Edmonton Rockers, Edmonton; Ghislaine Landry, Toronto Scottish, Toronto; Mandy Marchak, Capilano RFC, Winnipeg; Kayla Moleschi, Williams Lake Rustlers, Williams Lake, B.C.; Karen Paquin, Club de Rugby Quebec, Quebec City; Nadia Popov, Aurora Barbarians, Newmarket, Ont.; Kelly Russell, Toronto Nomads, Bolton, Ont.; Ashley Steacy, Lethbridge Rugby Club, Lethbridge, Alta.; Charity Williams, Markham Irish, Toronto.

Head Coach: John Tait

Assistant Coach: Sandro Fiorino

Canada Roster for Wellington and Las Vegas

Admir Cejvanovic, Burnaby Lake RFC, Vancouver; Sean Duke, UVIC Vikes, Vancouver; Mike Fuailefau, Castaway Wanderers, Victoria; Lucas Hammond, Toronto Nomads, Toronto; Harry Jones, Capilano RFC, North Vancouver; Pat Kay, UVIC Vikes, Duncan, B.C.; John Moonlight (capt.), James Bay AA, Pickering, Ont.; Pat Parfrey, James Bay AA, St. John’s, N.L.; Conor Trainor, UBCOB Ravens, Vancouver; Liam Underwood, Ontario Blues, Toronto; Sean White, James Bay AA, Victoria; Jordan Wilson-Ross, James Bay AA, Alliston, Ont.; Adam Zaruba, Capilano RFC, Vancouver.

Head Coach: Liam Middleton

Assistant Coach: Kieran Crowley

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